By Michael Lanza

There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and at some point, getting rained on when dayhiking or backpacking. As we all know, wet clothing conducts heat away from your body, making you colder. Staying as dry as possible while on the trail or in camp is key to staying warm in the backcountry when the weather turns wet—especially in temperatures below around 60° F and in wind, which swiftly chills your body. This article will help you enjoy a much more comfortable and pleasant backcountry adventure—even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Trekkers on Besseggen Ridge in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park.
” data-image-caption=”Jasmine and Jeff Wilhelm trekking through rain on Besseggen Ridge in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park.
” data-medium-file=”https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Nor1-032-Besseggen-Ridge-Jotunheimen-NP-Norway1.jpg?fit=199%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Nor1-032-Besseggen-Ridge-Jotunheimen-NP-Norway1.jpg?fit=425%2C640&ssl=1″ width=”425″ height=”640″ src=”https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Nor1-032-Besseggen-Ridge-Jotunheimen-NP-Norway1.jpg?resize=425%2C640&ssl=1″ alt=”Trekkers on Besseggen Ridge in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park.” class=”wp-image-11207″ srcset=”https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Nor1-032-Besseggen-Ridge-Jotunheimen-NP-Norway1.jpg?w=425&ssl=1 425w, https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Nor1-032-Besseggen-Ridge-Jotunheimen-NP-Norway1.jpg?resize=199%2C300&ssl=1 199w, https://i1.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Nor1-032-Besseggen-Ridge-Jotunheimen-NP-Norway1.jpg?resize=200%2C301&ssl=1 200w” sizes=”(max-width: 425px) 100vw, 425px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Jasmine and Jeff Wilhelm hiking Besseggen Ridge in Norway’s Jotunheimen National Park.

Many hikers mistakenly assume that all one needs to do when caught hiking in the rain is don a rain jacket. But in mild temperatures, even a high-quality waterproof-breathable shell can cause you to overheat and sweat a lot—especially when walking uphill and carrying a pack—making you wet from the inside rather than the outside. 

The key to staying as warm and dry as possible while hiking is learning the strategies for balancing your body’s heat production with the ambient weather conditions and your clothing layers.

I’ve walked through countless downpours and long days of rain over three decades of dayhiking, backpacking, and climbing from the rainforests of the North Cascades and Olympic National Park to New England, the Tour du Mont Blanc, the mountains of Norway, and New Zealand—formerly as the Northwest Editor of Backpacker magazine for 10 years and now for many years running this blog.

After that many trail miles in miserably wet weather, you either learn some tricks for staying dry or you give this stuff up, and I couldn’t give it up.

The 10 simple tips below will help you stay dry and warm through the wettest adventures. Please share any tips of your own or your questions in the comments section at the bottom of this story; I try to respond to all comments.

Click on any photo in this story to read about that trip.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides
Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/7-pro-tips-for-keeping-your-backpacking-gear-dry/

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